Construction Begins!

After a one month delay waiting for the trailer arrive from the manufacturer, construction has finally started. Yesterday I went with my builder Doug Dobson, to pick up the trailer. It was the first time I’ve ever pulled anything besides a boat behind my truck and it took a bit of getting used to. The trailer actually added a bit more stability to my pickup and I suggest Ford starts adding trailers to all their vehicles. If you recall from the previous post, the tiny home was scheduled to be completed by the end of next week. I’m still optimistic that we will be able to have things caught up and I will be able to move to my new place in mid June. Everyone cross their fingers!

Last week Doug and I took a trip to town to procure most of the materials. It was fun picking out the cedar tongue and groove boards for the interior, the wood flooring, windows and my front door. So many choices, colors, textures, shapes, patterns, sizes so many different options… my head is spinning. I’m beside myself just thinking about what I’m going to do for curtains. There have been many a sleepless night laying in bed… dreaming. It’s finally here and time to get to work!

Bright and early today I took the 4-wheeler and camera over to Doug’s and he was already out and getting things set up. I was impressed at his enthusiasm on our little project. Within a matter of hours we had already completed most of the subfloor. Doug had to run to the lumber yard to get the oak boards for the loft floor, so I decided to take the opportunity to update the blog. I know, it took long enough. I finally have something worth merit to start writing about… are you excited? I am.

Tomorrow I’m driving to my parents property and will decide on the final resting place of my tiny home. Hopefully everyone can come to an agreement on it’s placement. I need a nice clear view of the sun to power my solar panels and a clearing big enough, so as not interfere with the wind that will power the wind generator. I also need to be close enough to the house to run a hose for my water supply. All this and yet not impede on my parents. It’s not going to be tucked away in the woods like I’d hoped, but rater on the side lot overlooking the lake.

If you are considering building a tiny home in the future, or live in one now please don’t hesitate to contact me. Doug is hoping that by building this tiny home for me, more opportunities for this type of construction will come his way. His information and other useful resources for those that are interested can be found here: https://returntothewild.net/tiny-home-resources.

As a side note: I’ recovering from a broken elbow at the moment and have “a gimp arm” as Doug calls it. I’m NOT in a cast and can use my arm in a limited fashion so long as I don’t bump it. Isn’t it funny how these things happen when it’s most inopportune? And to all you smart asses out there who know me… YES I’m accident prone. Enjoy the pictures 🙂

Day #1 of construction. Pulled trailer in garage so we weren’t in the sun. We began by removing every other board on the bed of the trailer to help lighten the end weight and because they aren’t needed for support. The sub floor is then built on top of the remaining boards in 3 separate sections that will be joined together once we install a layer of metal flashing (under the sub floor and on top of the existing trailer bed boards) to protect the subfloor from beneath. Next we will cut insulation to fit between the 2×4’s and finish by laying down plywood sheeting. The trailer is a 8×20 straight deck “Buggy Hauler”, custom built for tiny homes by PJ Trailers in Sumner, TX. DSC_1069 . DSC_1071 DSC_1074 DSC_1075 DSC_1076 DSC_1077 DSC_1078 DSC_1079DSC_1085

Anyone want to buy a tipi?

Well spring is here and things are moving along. I’m currently having coffee with my “builder” and discussing the construction of my new tiny home. The way things are going, I should have my new home built and ready to move into by June. WOW I can’t believe this is finally happening. Exciting times!

Stay tuned!!!!

The long winter begins

Ahhhhhh. Winter is finally here. I’ve managed to get all my wood cut for the season and at the rate I’m burning… I should wind up with more than enough to get me through the winter. Right now we just have a few inches of snow covering everything and are expected to have fairly warm weather these next few days (mid 30’s to 40’s). We had a few days where the mercury level was in the negative. Yes, I expect it will get much worse.

The rabbits and chickens are doing fine in the new coop I built, staying fairly warm with just one 250W heat lamp. I still have to change out frozen water bottles everyday. The dogs and I are staying very warm in the cabin with just the woodstove. It took some time but I’ve finally figured out how to get maximum heat and an extended burn out of it… it was a learning experience.

My biggest complaint right now is boredom. It gets a little “cabin feverish” up here. I’ve been keeping busy reading, knitting, riding the 4-wheeler, hunting (NO I did not get my deer this year, but the neighbor did! I had my first venison loin and I even ate heart for the first time!), ice fishing, trapping raccoons, visiting with neighbors and family and eating. I’m going to attempt to learn a few things this winter including how to knit socks with a loom and how to make nets. Keeping busy is the key.

I can let the cat out of the bag now as far as next summer is concerned. I will be moving onto my parents property which is located on a lake in Northern Minnesota. My Mom is extremely excited and can’t wait to start gardening with her son. My Dad is also happy, as he now has someone to mow the lawn and help out with other projects. I will be setting up the tipi on the property and living in it while I construct a tiny home (just google “tiny home” if you are unfamiliar), which will eventually become my permanent residence. I hope to have the tiny home finished by fall so I can move in before winter, otherwise I will just move to the house as I’ve pretty much given up on staying in the tipi over the winter- I’m too old for the cold LOL. It’s going to be quite the adventure and there will be A LOT to accomplish. I am very excited. This is eventually where I wanted to end up, I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly. I have stability here and I know that the time I put into these projects will not be in vain. It’s time for me to work on some long term plans and goals. Expect to see this blog very active beginning in spring 🙂

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Well, that’s all for now. I hope everyone got their fill of turkey and has a wonderful Holliday season. Stay warm!

SHTF and Bigfoot. Thats right. I said Bigfoot!

Guess I’ll just dive right in… when I last blogged, life was good! I had just hung the hammock and was getting ready to sit back and reap the rewards of all the hard work. The major projects were done and I could start planning on what I was going to accomplish next summer. Next summer would have been so much better for everything. The garden wouldn’t need as much prep work, just a quick tilling; the bees would be established; the tipi would still be up. I could have gotten the jump start that I needed this year. Then as the preppers say, the SHIT HIT THE FAN!

Right around July 10th. Gene comes home and I go to talk to him to see what’s new and exciting in his world. That’s when he tells me, “I’m selling everything, EVERYTHING. I thought about this for two days and I’m out of here. I’m selling the house and moving to Hilo, Hawaii.” I almost fell over. I thought Gene was being funny, but then I saw the seriousness in his eyes. I said, “when?” Gene says, ” The auction house is coming in two days to sell everything, the house goes on the market next week and my plane flies out on Aug 15th.” I was dumb founded. WTF? Can someone say compulsive?

I felt like the rug was pulled right out from under me. I wanted to be excited for Gene, I mean I blog about following your dreams right? Yes, you should follow your dreams, but not when you are throwing another person under the bus by doing so. Someone you had told right up until that day that “you were staying at that home until the day you die” and continue to lead on with big plans about “what amazing things you will be doing on the property next year.” I understand wanting to move, but shit man… you left in the biggest hurry I’ve ever seen! I had practically no time to figure out what the hell my next move was. I was angry and felt so betrayed.

Thankfully… I had options. In the end I made the decision to stay at a friends cabin across the road through the winter. I did this so that I wouldn’t get screwed out of all the time, effort, blood, sweat, tears and money I had invested in the garden. With this option I can set up my tipi on the other property, move all my live stock and still have the safety of a cabin to run to if the cold got too bad. Most important of all I’d be able to access my garden!

Interestingly, right when I was about to make the move to the new location I ran into a little snag. The crew from the show “Finding Bigfoot” was just finishing up shooting an episode right there at the cabin I was supposed to be moving into. How weird is that? How cool is that? Yep, I’m living in the cabin where the Minnesota episode ( LOOK HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4mPfnKv7kE ) was filmed. Before I go on… NO, I’m not a believer. I live in a tipi for goodness sake. If I believed in bigfoot It would be a stupid to thing be living in a canvas tipi right there… where they were looking for him! So anyway they asked me to wait until they finished shooting before I began setting up the tipi. For continuity sake how would they explain the sudden appearance of a tipi? I was stuck in limbo for two days because everything had been cleared from inside the tipi and moved into a storage unit.

It took only 3 hours to tare down the tipi and get it set back up on the new property. I had some help from the neighbors and used a boat trailer to move the poles. The new site is just on the other side of Genes back road, so it was not very far. It took another 3 hours to hang the inner liner; so many knots to tie. Then it was another 2 days of moving belongings out of storage and back into the tipi. And a lot of sadness.

My Next biggest project was to build a new chicken coop/rabbit pen. I bought a used trailer from my Cousin and erected a 8×10 aluminum shed on it. My Dad gave me this idea… just in case I had to move again. With the coop on a trailer I wouldn’t be in such a jam if I had to pack up and leave in a hurry. Just hitch the thing to the truck and drive! Oh, I bought a truck also. Nothing special just a 98 Ford F150. It has a trailer hitch and 4-wheel drive and runs. Works for me.

It took me a few days to build the new coop. I had to drive to town to get the shed then drive to pick up the trailer; there goes a whole day. I built the entire thing by myself, shed and all. Apparently you need 2 people to put this shed together; I call bullshit! I must say it turned out nice. I packed the walls with insulation and put in the automatic chicken coop door (I had to fix it fist with some JB weld because the damn thing broke a while back) and hung up some lights and a heat lamp. It took me a few days to get everything together and set up. The animals will be just fine this winter, probably better than last. I’m amazed at what I can throw together… I’m quite crafty you know! Now the sad part. While all this moving was going on and getting the new coop together, the chickens were still over at Genes. Gene had already left and the property was abandoned, save for the animals. I was going over every morning to check on them and give them water and food. During this time I noticed the duck wasn’t around. Not too unusual, sometimes Velvita goes off by herself to swim in the pond. The next day there was still no Velvita and I couldn’t see the two Buff Orpingtons anywhere. These were my first two chickens that I started with three years ago. I still wasn’t concerned… they run off sometimes too.

See we’ve never had problems with our livestock running around, the predators kept their distance because there was always someone there or there were dogs guarding the property. Well on the third day I found out that the duck and the orpingtons weren’t off having fun somewhere because I found the mangled corpse of yet another chicken laying just outside the coop door. Damn, damn, damn… I loved that duck! By mid day the new coop was finished and I was able to move the birds that night. They are now safe and there have been no more missing chickens.

During all this I’m staying at the new location and back living in the tipi with the dogs. The mosquito problems were over and now I was dealing with a new devil: humidity. Those of you who have gone camping and then crawled into a moist sleeping bag know what I’m talking about! There is NOTHING more uncomfortable than trying to sleep in a wet sleeping bag on a wet pillow… try it sometime… then try it for a month. I finally figured out the solution (which is the good part). I was making my bed like my Mom taught me. I made it every morning first thing after getting up. WRONG! My solution is simple: make your bed as usual but, this time pull the top sheet and comforter up and over the footboard. This way the sheets are exposed and have all day to dry out then, an hour before you go to bed, start a fire. Ooooohhhh, aaaaahhhh. Told you I was crafty. The top of the comforter still winds up being a bit damp because it’s folded over on itself. This isn’t an issue because who sleeps on top of their comforter?

So let’s recap. Gene pulls the plug, bigfoot isn’t found, everything is in storage, moved the tipi, moved into the tipi, new chicken coop, dead duck, dead chickens, chickens saved, fucking humidity! Yep, bout sums it up. Oh yeah… now the rabbits.

The rabbits were the next to move and that wasn’t so bad. I took them out of the fancy, shingled, wood stand that Gene suggest I build (thanks buddy… for suggesting I drop $150 bucks on materials to build this damn thing that I can’t fucking move with me-fell the anger there?), not such a great idea anymore… assembled them back into the stackable cages I originally had them in in the first place and then moved them to a fenced in area at the new location. Eventually, when it gets cold enough they will join the chickens on the other half of the new coop/rabbitry.  All during this time I am pissing and moaning because I’m not in my hammock enjoying the day, or out cutting the much needed wood.

Now we are getting a bit current on what’s been taking place. Last week it got pretty cold up here; just above freezing. I was finally able to run the stove full blast and see what she had. Turns out it wasn’t much. This stove eats fire wood like I ate gummy worms when I was 12 (totally devoured a 5lb bag in a few hours! No lie). Every hour I was pumping wood in this thing and I could only maintain about 50 degrees. The trouble is when you fall asleep and wake up at 3 a.m. to shivering dogs and frost on your lip. Then I got sick. After waking up the next morning (at 4 a.m.) in a cold sweat with plugged ears, sore throat, no voice, and a stuffy nose in a 35 degree tipi… I realized I had reached my breaking point. There was no way in hell I was getting out of bed to feed that damn stove another log! I grabbed my pillow and dogs and walked the 50 feet to the cabin.

Now the cabin has a stove that works. Like REALY works! A few logs will burn for almost 6 hours and get that cabin up to 75-80 degrees no problem. I pondered for a moment about whether or not I should spend the money on a better stove. If I had a stove like the one in the cabin I might (emphasis on “might”) be able to struggle through winter. If it didn’t work however, then I had just wasted money on a stove. I know the one I have now works fine for the cooler evenings and times when you want a little fire. This other stove would be overkill. This was 3 days ago.

I’m currently dog sitting at my parents, hence the use of the computer. Thanks Dad for leaving it so I could update my blog and fix my e-mail. Oh yeah… if you don’t log into @hushmail and check your messages every few days, they disable your account… till you sign up for (and pay for) a premium membership, then you can access it again. Ugh, they don’t take into consideration those of us who are living in tipis out in the middle of the woods. We just might not be able to get to a computer every damn day. Jeebuz! I also dropped my phone in the lake and have been struggling to get it working correctly for the past few weeks. Reluctantly, I will have to go to Walmart and buy a replacement… I hate going to town. Hate going to town so much that I’m willing to go 2 weeks without a proper working phone!

On the bright side. There is a plan for next spring. A plan I’m very excited to tell you about… but can’t just yet. See how I have you all dangling there like worms on a hook now (haha fishing reference). I’m mostly set up at the new cabin; still need to move the bees. The one downside to this location… it’s also currently on the market, has been for a few years now. I’m good friends with the owners (they are the ones that introduced me to Gene) and we worked out a deal for me to live there and help with the upkeep and to watch over it. It’s a damn good deal if you ask me. We are pretty sure the property wont sell for some time, hopefully at least till spring. I’m more isolated at this location and IT’S RIGHT ON THE LAKE. I have my boat parked just down the hill and don’t need to trailer it to go fishing anymore- this makes fishing much easier, just hop in and GO! I feel more comfortable and stable here than I did at Genes.

While I’m at my parents I brought a few 5 gallon pails full of tomatoes I’m going to can. I have so many tomatoes… did I mention they were 8 feet tall this year! Missed out on that one too Gene… lots of goodies in that garden you walked away from. When I get back from dog sitting I’ll get the bees moved, reap the rewards from my awesome garden, cut some firewood and do a little hunting… other than that… it’s finally back to the hammock… and 4-wheeler rides in the woods… AND THEN THE FUCKING SNOW!

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Stills from the show

 

New Cabin

New Cabin

Tipi at new cabin

Tipi at new cabin

New boat at the dock

New boat at the dock

The lake

The lake

Back deck

Back deck

Fire Pit

Fire Pit

New target setup

New target setup

New coop

New coop

Inside new coop

Inside new coop

Rabbits

Rabbits

The girls taking a dust bath in the woods

The girls taking a dust bath in the woods

tomato harvest

tomato harvest

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BEAUTIFUL eggs

BEAUTIFUL eggs

New truck

New truck

Peaceful Disconnect

It’s been a while since I’ve updated… and I’m not going to apologize. My laptop broke last month and I’ve been avoiding the internet like the plague. I haven’t checked my e-mail or my twitter and I have even stopped watching the news. The world could be ending and I would be the last to know. Life is much more enjoyable when I’m not glued to a computer screen or television. I do however enjoy playing the PS3 and watching a few DVD’s from time-to-time… hopefully, this will soon be replaced by reading more.

Things are continuing to go well. The rabbits are all with litters, the bees are putting away honey, the chickens are busy being chickens… and I’m enjoying all of it! We’ve finally gotten out of our “wet” spell and now the heat is starting in. Thankfully the tipi stays nice and cool. Little projects are getting done now that all the big ones are finished. I’ve got a cozy hammock hanging under some trees, a nice outdoor cook pit, and I made myself a small archery range. We built a deck off the front of the tipi to cover the “mote” we had to dig to combat the run-off from the rain. I’ve started collecting and splitting wood- this will be a continuous chore throughout the summer. The garden is doing well and the tomatoes are growing like weeds. I think everything will be ready to harvest just as winter begins to set. I’m looking forward to the canning season! I still need to bury some coolers for a make-shift root cellar and build my solar dehydrator. I’ve also been thinking of building a sweat lodge.

I bought a boat a while back and have been doing some fishing with Gene. Unfortunately the trim/tilt motor went out and it’s currently in the shop for repair… this is the reason I’m not out fishing and instead, sitting here typing this! We’ve had quite a few visitors over the Holiday weekend and I’ve enjoyed showing everyone what I’ve been up to these past few months (sorry you couldn’t make it Irma, I miss you!). Gene is busy repairing an old hot tub and hopefully it’s done soon… my muscles are sore.

There is a lot going on, too much in fact to write down here. I feel a breeze and the hammock is calling me… I’ll leave you with some pictures! Take care 🙂

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Nocking Arrows Off-Grid in the Rain

The weather Gods are playing their tricks again. I’m wondering if I should start building an ark and gathering animals… rain, rain and still more rain. I think we should build a water pipeline from the tipi to California. I made the mistake of going to town and leaving the door open during our latest 28hr. downpour. Let’s just say I’m glad I bought indoor/outdoor carpet and have plenty of towels. The front of the tipi got a little wet. I am also getting some water dripping in from the stove pipe. I need to find a way to seal the canvas around the pipe so that the water has no way to sneak in. The back of the tipi where the bed is set up, and the side of the tipi where the T.V. and battery bank is, stays completely dry… thankfully. The wind can really whip the canvas and it’s quite impressive listening to the storms raging outside. As I explained to my Dad, I don’t have to worry so much about the wind because of the conical shape of the tipi, it’s not a flat wall like a house and the wind simply goes around me. I also have a rope that is lashed around the top of the poles and can be anchored to the center of the tipi if we get any serious straight line winds.

Yesterday we finished getting the wind generator lifted into place and wired up. We wound up blowing a fuse bank when we attempted to connect to the batteries. The wiring for the generator is three phase and the instructions were sketchy on how the two systems (battery powerhub and wind generator MPPT) connected together. A simple phone call to the manufacturer got us on the right track and everything is connected properly now. Of course yesterday there was no wind, and today the wind is blowing so hard that the over-speed protection on the wind generator has shut down the blades. Tonight I’m disconnecting from the main power and will be running completely off-grid… an experiment that is sure to present some issues that will need to be problem solved. EVERYTHING is a learning experience.

Today I picked up my new Hoyt Charger compound bow from Itasca Archery Supply (http:www.itascaarchery.com). I’m telling you, the people in the Northland are about the most friendly and interesting folks you could wish to meet. Gary, the shop owner, set me up with a great bow package. I’ve never felt more comfortable about making such an “investment” in my life. I was even able to get a free archery lesson with Arne Moe, who is a level 4 USA Archery Coach. To top it all off, Gary’s son is going to connect me with some local bee keepers in the Itasca area. Northland networking at it’s finest! I have faith that I’m going to get a deer this season… cross your fingers and wish me luck, I’m hoping to brain tan some buckskin this fall.

Well, the rain has died down a little. I think I’m going to find a spot to hang my target and practice my form. Nothing like nocking arrows off-grid in the rain. Stay dry!

Everything Falling into Place.

Every day I wake up, I have to pinch myself to make sure that I’m not dreaming. Life has never been this good or this exciting. I’ve never felt so “connected” to the world around me. At night I fall asleep to the croaking of frogs and the hooting of owls, I wake up to the chirping of birds and the cool blowing breeze. Life in a tipi is… amazing. I’m at a loss for words, it’s something that must be experienced to be understood.

I’ve managed to solve my mosquito problem. Nothing a bug zapper and a bit of mosquito netting can’t handle. Of course, now we have a new problem… army worms. The damn things are everywhere and they spin a line from the tops of my tipi poles and come inching down, only to be squished in my carpet. If you are not a fan of bugs, you should just stay in your comfy pre-fab house! Just sayin’. The winter will be cold yes, but at least there won’t be any damn bugs!!!

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The composting toilet is hooked up and running. So far I’m very happy with how it operates. There is no smell unless I forget to empty the urine bucket (which is part of my daily morning ritual now). If you want specifics on it’s operation check: http://www.natureshead.net.

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I also managed to hook up the kitchen sink… with running water! The stove is also hooked up properly now. I purchased a 2ft. length of double wall insulated stove pipe to go out the front of the tipi through the lacing pins. This allows me to close the smoke flaps when it’s raining heavily and during the winter months. I have to figure out a way to plug up the small holes that were created when running the pipe out this way… EVERYTHING is literally a learning experience.

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After much debate on how to best hook up the wind generator, I finally broke down and ordered the tower kit. Gene and I were trying to figure out if we could save money by building a tower ourselves, but decided in the end to just go with the kit. Sometimes it’s best pay the extra cost to make sure that things aren’t going to come crashing down… it’s an investment. We got the tower up yesterday and will be installing the wind generator later today after we pick up wire in town. I’ve already been using the battery bank and inverter, pulling power through an extension cord from the house. The batteries seem to be able to keep everything running for a few days before they drain. At some point I may need to install a few solar cells to collect power on those rare windless days. I’ll know for sure how everything is going to hold up by the end of next week.

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I’ve cleaned up twice now in the new outdoor shower. There is something freeing standing naked in a field, under a warm shower with only God looking at your naughty parts. I picked up a Triton on-demand propane water heater from the interwebs for a reasonable price. The thing works like a charm and can put out some seriously HOT water. The hook-up was simple and it only requires a garden hose, propane tank and 2 D cell batteries. When the unit senses the water flowing it immediately fires up and starts sending hot water. As long as the propane doesn’t run out, the hot water continues to flow without interruption. It also works great for cleaning my dishes… and laundry at some point (LOL).

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The garden is about as planted as it’s going to get this year. I didn’t get everything that I wanted to plant in the ground. The grains and carrots and wheat will have to wait till next year. Apparently I’m not the only one who had a late start in the garden this year, so I don’t feel so bad. I’m hoping right now that everything comes up. I’ve got some serious clay in my garden and I’m afraid the seedlings are going to have a difficult time pushing through the soil… time will tell.

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In preparation for the heat of July, I broke down and bought a pool… live simply yes, but one still needs “toys.” I don’t have the luxury of air conditioning and I’m not a fan of swimming in mucky lakes. Gene is fixing up an old hot tub in the garage, so soon we will have that up and running too. This place is turning into a 5 star resort!

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Lastly this week, I pulled out 7 of my frozen rabbit hides and started to tan them… I’ll post pictures when they are finished. Again, thank you internet for providing me the information to learn all these new skills.

Well… I have lots of work to do. Hopefully life is treating you well and you are having a better time with mosquitoes and bugs than I am. Till next time!

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Mosquitoes and Sweat… Still Think This is Fun!

On Friday May 23rd. I began living full-time in the tipi. My friend Erin came up to visit for the weekend from the cities. She was supposed to help me move everything out of the cabin and into the tipi, but I was bored and eager, so everything was already moved when she arrived. I can not describe how awesome of an experience this is! I have my bed, a sink, two stoves, a dresser, a book case, a cedar chair, a refrigerator and toilet… and there is plenty of room for all of it, plus more for storage. The guests that have come over to see inside have just stood in awe. There is something magical about living in a round home.

The tipi stays about 6-8 degrees cooler than the outside temp. I use a fan to keep the air circulating. The last two days I’ve gotten a taste of wet weather, so far everything has held up. There have been a few small drips here and there, but nothing I’d consider even close to serious or annoying. I went shopping in town and got some rugs for the floor and some paver bricks for under the stove area. I hung two strands of Christmas lights up around the interior and they provide just enough light to complete the ambiance. Hopefully the pictures can convey the “feel” of the living space. I’m waiting for Erin to e-mail me some panoramic photos she took during the visit. I’ll post them soon. Clothes pins come in handy for hanging things up along the inside liner (a tip for any tipi enthusiasts out there).

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The biggest problem that I have right now, is the damned mosquitoes. I’ve been bathing in bug spray and burning sage to help keep them out. Sometimes they just DGAF and bite right through the strongest bug spray I can find. I woke one morning to a swarm of the pesky buggers hovering over my bed. I’m considering buying a bug zapper and a mosquito net to go over the bed at night. Anyone from Minnesota knows what a bunch of crap “mosquito season” is. There are other bugs too, but I don’t really mind as long as they keep to themselves. I’ve had no problems with mice or other animals trying to get inside… I’m pretty sure the dogs have something to do with that. Another issue is dirt… I have to sweep everyday… I’m pretty sure the dogs have something to do with that too. Despite these few things, I still have no regrets and I’m having the adventure of my life. I couldn’t be happier! I’m slowly becoming “that guy that lives in the tipi.” I have no problem just sitting in the tipi with the dogs, watching a movie (or reading) and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Gene and I started on the outdoor shower (which will have to be used when the mosquitoes aren’t around), we ran out of boards and will pick some up on Monday to finish it. The sink is in, but I still have to run a water line. I have a Berkey water filter that I use for my drinking water. Currently with the heat, the dogs and I go through about 3 gallons of water a day. Also, I still need to hook up the wind generator. Right now I’m pulling power from the barn. Hopefully I will be “off-grid” in the next week. There are tons of little projects to accomplish… including a not so little project; splitting and stacking wood for the winter. Yes, I still have faith that I will be able to make it through the winter!

The garden is late in getting started. I planted about 14 tomato plants last week, and yesterday I planted some raspberry bushes. Next year will be much better because we won’t need to plow up sod and put up fencing; just a quick tilling. I met another neighbor yesterday and he kindly gave me 24 pepper seedlings, some onion and potato sets, and some seeds. The people are so friendly in the country!

The honeybees are doing awesome! I’m getting ready to put my second hive body on. The bees have been busy gathering pollen and building comb. I can’t believe how docile the bees are. I’m not even wearing gloves anymore! Next time I check on them, I’m going to wear just the veil and no suit. Yep, living life dangerously I am!

The baby chicks are doing well and should be big enough to join the other girls in the yard next week. I lost one of my Buff Orpingtons I’ve had for 3 years now. My friend Erin went to check for eggs and found her laying in the corner of the coop. There were no obvious signs of injury; her death is a mystery. Velvita the duck has started to venture out on her own more… doing less “chicken” things and more “duck” things. She obviously would like to spend all day near the pond, the chickens not so much.

The rabbits are doing awesome, even in this heat. The new outdoor cages are on the shade side of the barn and are working better than I could have hoped. No more emptying litter pans!!! I have a gravity fed watering system which saves TONS of time not having to constantly fill up smaller water bottles. The first litter of 8 kits is 5 weeks old and another doe just kindled another 8 kits on Wednesday. I remember watching the movie “Roger and Me” by Michal Moore with my Mother when I was younger. There is a scene with this lady that sells and butchers rabbits and has a sign in her yard that says: “rabbits for sale. pets or meat.” I hope she doesn’t mind me stealing her sign idea 🙂 Hopefully I can make a few bucks selling them.

The work is hard and sweaty and never ends. It seems like once I finish one project, five more take it’s place. On the nice days… I love it! On the crappy days… I still love it, but I complain a lot 🙂 The dogs are slowly adjusting to the changes too. Sometimes they forget that “go inside” means go into the tipi and not the cabin. Myles keeps sneaking out when I leave and going over to the neighbors (bad dog), obviously some training is in order. He will get it eventually. Rusty developed another ear infection and both dogs are getting bit by flies. The vet gave me some fly repellent cream to test out, so far it seems to be working. Myles is an indoor dog and I wonder if this transition is stressful to him. Rusty loves being outside and seems to not care at all. Gene has been amazing in helping me with all this. He’s very clever and has had a few great ideas. He always has input and makes me think about things.

Surprisingly I’ve been off the computer for well over a week now. Let me tell ya… I don’t miss “not knowing” all the “extra stuff” going on in the world. I can concentrate on what’s around me and what effects me directly. I will run cable out to the garage so I can get wireless in the tipi… eventually. Right now it’s not on my list of “priorities” and that should tell you something. So again, thank you dear reader. Hope you stay cool and dry and follow your dreams!